At Large

Have a heart


Driving yesterday on Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City—in the vicinity of Ateneo de Manila University and Miriam College, and farther afield the University of the Philippines, the Philippine School of Business Administration, several private high schools and culinary schools—my son and I happened by a flower shop that had vehicles piled three-four deep in front of it. Business seemed to be going extremely well, so well in fact that flower arrangers had set up shop on the sidewalk outside.

We were planning to have lunch—a  little mom-and-son date in the middle of the day—in an eatery on Katipunan, but even after we had circled twice around our chosen place, not an inch of available parking space had manifested.

Frustrated, we drove farther along, climbing the overpass until we settled on a tiny tea shop near White Plains, which, fortunately for our growling tummies, also served pasta and sandwiches.

I cursed myself for being so clueless about the occasion. It was Valentine’s Day, after all, and the world had no place or time for an impromptu mother-son bonding. And even as we settled into that tiny tea room, my son spent the better part of our late lunch calling up a flower shop to make sure his bride received her surprise Valentine bouquet.

All the world loves a lover, indeed. And old lovers—old in the ways of the world and in familiarity, if not in age yet—can sometimes feel that love, or at least its tingling, thrilling, titillating guise, has passed them by.

* * *

But even as I write this, the day ain’t over yet, and the old, familiar twinges of hope, expectant yearning, priming for a surprise, guarding against disappointment—all of these have come bubbling up again. As they do each time Valentine’s Day comes round.

It helps little, of course, that I am invariably disappointed. It isn’t as if I haven’t been warned. Early in our relationship, the hubby had proclaimed that he never had, never would, believe in the occasion. “Don’t expect me to do anything special for you on that day,” he told me. Even as I, pretending to be worldly and cynical and blasé about sentiment, nodded my assent, deep inside was a little voice simpering: “Oh, please, surprise me … surprise me.” He never did, never would, I guess. At least, not on Valentine’s Day.

Still, the world conspires against the cynical. For weeks—weeks!—newspaper supplements and lifestyle sections have bombarded us with stories on the latest in gifts our “Valentines” would love to receive; restaurants where we could celebrate our love appropriately; movies to stoke the romantic in us; and special offers for overnight stays in hotels and resorts. Maybe in reaction I lulled myself into amnesia, forgetting the occasion until our ill-timed search for a place to lunch.

What a way to be reminded! But even if only for the chance to reflect on the state of romance in the Metro—alive and well and robust in its commercial possibilities—I’m glad we had that brief Valentine’s Day tour. It warms the heart, even of this old lover.

* * *

“Have a heart,” is the plea of children and child rights advocates to candidates in the coming elections, appealing to voters in turn to “think of the future of their children, younger siblings, nieces and nephews as they choose their candidates.”

“Just like any other citizen, we deserve better programs and policies from the government, but more often than not, our issues take a back seat in governance. Lamentably because we are not voters, politicians tend to ignore our issues,” says John Aries, 16, project team leader of the Children Talk to Children (C2C). But when it comes to issues that truly deserve the priority attention of politicians, says Aries, children’s issues should be on top of the list. “We are the most affected by poverty, hunger, disaster and conflict. We are the worst victims of poor governance.”

The C2C Project, a joint initiative of four child-led organizations in Metro Manila and Cavite, supports children in preparing and submitting their own report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and develops children’s skills in engaging the government and the general public in raising and addressing children’s issues. The C2C Project is being supported by Save the Children.

* * *

High on the list of priority children’s issues deserving of government attention—and thus of all candidates seeking office in the May elections—is the issue of child sexual abuse.

Plan International, a humanitarian, child-centered development organization working in 69 countries, says it is “disappointed” that child sexual abuse still has a very high prevalence in the Philippines.

Data from the National Statistical Coordination Board show that the second most common cases handled by the Department of Social Welfare and Development are sexually abused children (around 30 percent of all cases). The most common form of sexual abuse is rape, followed by incest and acts of lasciviousness. Rape victims are predominantly female (97.7 percent in 2009 and 90.5 percent in 2010). Incest cases made up some 33 percent of sexual abuse cases in 2009, and increased to 37.5 percent in 2010.

“Clearly, children’s rights are not recognized,” says Carin van der Hor, country director of Plan International in the Philippines. “In a study conducted by Plan last year, it was revealed that new forms of commercial sexual exploitation have emerged that are often difficult to track. Parents of very young children initiate them to child pornography, indicating that child protection and antichild pornography laws must have sufficient implementation budgets to enable law enforcers to update themselves with new technologies.”

Have a heart, indeed!

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

More from this Column:

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Short URL: http://opinion.inquirer.net/?p=46893

Tags: At Large , C2C , Children Talk to Children , opinion , Rina Jimenez-David , Valentine's Day

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • AFP: Abu Sayyaf group, not MILF, target of Basilan operation
  • Massive infra spending set
  • DOJ to NBI: Arrest Cedric Lee, 4 others
  • Metro residents brace for long, ‘dry’ spell
  • MMDA: Avoid Edsa, take alternate routes
  • Sports

  • Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  • Manny Pacquiao in PBA? If so, he’ll wear No. 17
  • PSC sets Blu Girls US training
  • Power Pinoys settle for 7th place
  • Successful coaches to get raise
  • Lifestyle

  • Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  • Celebrate Easter Sunday at Buddha-Bar Manila
  • Moriones feast: A slow, steady transformation
  • Weaving ‘palaspas’ a tradition kept alive in Tayabas City
  • Finalists announced for best translated books
  • Entertainment

  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • ‘Community’ star happy with return of show’s creator
  • Jealousy is kid stuff
  • Mommy-daughter adventure continues
  • Business

  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • PH seen to sustain rise in FDIs
  • Gov’t subsidies to state firms fell in first 2 months
  • Technology

  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Milpitas, California kids wrap up a successful run of ‘The Wiz’
  • Netizens welcome Japan’s visa-free travel plan
  • Marketplace